Many people who prepare their own tax returns aren’t real tax professionals, they’re just ordinary people looking to save a few bucks.  Therefore, at some point they’re bound to get confused and have questions.  Fortunately, ezTaxReturn can help.  Here are the 10 most commonly asked tax questions along with the answers.

Do I need to file a tax return if I didn’t make much money?

Although your income plays a role in whether you need to file a return, it isn’t the only factor.  You also have to take your age and filing status into consideration.  To make the right decision for your situation, use the chart below.

Keep in mind that even if you aren’t required to file, it’s still a good idea to do so anyway.  You may be eligible for certain refundable credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, but you can only get a refund if you file a tax return.  When you use ezTaxReturn to do your taxes, your return can be ready for e-file in just 30 minutes.

When is the deadline to file?

Next season, the tax deadline is going to be April 15, 2019.  However, if you need more time, you can request an extension which will give you an additional six months to file.

When does the tax season begin?

It’s too early for an official opening date but the tax season typically begins in January.  Pre-register now with ezTaxReturn and you’ll be notified when it’s time to start your return.  As an added bonus, you’ll also receive a special discount when you file.

What documents do I need to do my return?

The most common form used to prepare a tax return is a W-2.  Typically, you’ll receive a copy from your employer by the end of January.  If your W-2 hasn’t arrived by mid-February, contact your current or former employer to request a copy.  When you speak to them, verify your address to ensure they have your correct information on file.  If the issue isn’t resolved by the end of February, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for assistance.  In either case, you’re still expected to file your return by April 15th.  Aside from your W-2, you will also need to have your social security number and bank account information for your refund handy.

How do I file?

There are a few ways you can do your taxes, you can hire a professional, use a tax program or manually prepare your return yourself.  If you only need a simple return, your best bet is to use a program like ezTaxReturn.  Their program is updated annually to comply with the latest tax laws.  Plus, they support the forms most taxpayers need at an affordable price.

How long will it take to get my refund?

Once your return has been accepted, the IRS issues most refunds within 21 days.  However, it may take longer if your return requires additional review.  Early filers must also keep in mind that if they claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, their refund will not be issued before mid-February.

Where is my refund?

The best way to find information about your refund is to use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website.  You can begin tracking your refund 24 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after mailing your return.  To get your refund status, you must enter your SSN, filing status and exact refund amount.  From there, the tracker will show the status of your refund.  You’ll see either one of three options; Return Received, Refund Approved or Refund Sent.  There won’t be a refund date until the IRS has processed and approved your return.  The fastest way to get your refund is to e-file and choose direct deposit as your refund method.

What happens if I file late?

If you can’t file by the deadline and expect to have a balance due, you may be slapped with two costly penalties.  The first is a failure-to-pay penalty which is 0.5% of your owed taxes for every month it’s late, up to 25%.  The second is a failure-to-file penalty which is 5% of your owed taxes for each month its late, up to 25%.  Your balance will also accumulate daily interest.  The interest rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percent.  Even if you can’t pay by the deadline, at least file on time or request a filing extension.

How do I file a tax extension?

If you need more time to do your taxes, complete and submit Form 4868 to the IRS before April 15.  This will give you an additional six months or until October 15, 2019 to prepare your tax return.  Keep in mind that requesting an extension only gives you more time to file without penalty, it does not give you additional time to pay.

How long do I need to keep my tax records?

Most taxpayers can shred their tax records three years after they’ve filed.  Three is the magic number because that’s the amount of time the IRS has to audit you.  It’s also the time limit for filing an amended return if you noticed a mistake after your return was accepted.  However, there are some exceptions to the rule.  If you file a fraudulent return or don’t bother to file at all, hold on to your records indefinitely.  If you don’t report all your earnings and it’s more than 25% of the gross income displayed on your return, keep your records for 6 years.  Finally, if you file a claim for a loss from a bad debt deduction or worthless securities, keep your records for 7 years.